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UMass Sesquicentennial

University of Massachusetts Amherst

History Department

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Contact us:

History Dept., Herter Hall Room 612
University of Massachusetts
161 Presidents Drive
Amherst, MA 01003-9312

Tel. 413.545.1330
Fax. 413.545.6137

Undergraduate Program Requirements

Major, Minor, Departmental Honors

The Major in History

The B.A. curriculum in history emphasizes breadth and flexibility. The requirements for the Major are summarized on this page; the complete, official requirements for the Major are listed in the Undergraduate Program Guide. History majors should keep in mind that they must also satisfy the University's General Education requirements and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts requirements.

Declaring your Major in History

History Major Requirements: Check List

History majors must complete 12 courses totalling at least 36 credits with a minimum GPA of 2.0, distributed as follows:

A. Two to five 100-level courses (Required, one pair: Western Thought 100 & 101, World Civilization 110 or 112 & 111, China 114 & 115, Latin America 120 & 121, Middle East 130 & 131, Africa 160 & 161, History of Science 180 & 181. Optional: Up to three other 100-level courses if one is a non-western course.)

B. Six to nine courses 200-499 (Students should keep in mind the pre-1500 and non-western requirements when choosing these courses. )

C. One course numbered 450 (Junior Writing Seminar, normally completed in the junior year and no later than the first semester of the senior year. If appropriate, this course may count as a pre-1500 course and one of the two required non-western courses (see below). Junior Year Writing Guidelines.

D. One course on history before 1500 (A list of courses that meet this requirement is included in the department's course descriptions, updated each semester. If appropriate, the Writing Seminar may satisfy this requirement.)

E. At least two non-western courses (These may be 100-level or upper-level; a fifth 100-level course may be taken to fulfill this requirement. Non-western courses focus on the following areas: Africa, East Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. If appropriate, the Writing Seminar may satisfy one course for this requirement.)


No upper-level history course may be taken elsewhere without prior approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Majors, including transfer students, must take a minimum of four upper-level courses in the department.

History courses taken Pass/Fail will not be counted toward requirements for a major.

No history course in which a grade below C- has been earned will satisfy requirements for the major.

Majors may count no more than 20 history courses toward the B.A. degree (a total of no more than 60 credits, in lower- and upper-level work).


The Minor in History

Minor in History Requirements

The requirements for the Minor are summarized on this page; the complete, official requirements for the Minor are listed in the Undergraduate Program Guide.

An undergraduate minor in History consists of a minimum of 6 courses totaling not less than 18 credits and distributed among lower and upper-level courses in the following manner:

A. No more than two introductory courses (100 level)

B. At least four upper-level courses (200 and above)


Transfer & test credit toward the minor will be granted for introductory courses only.

The four upper-level courses must be taken through the University of Massachusetts Amherst History Department or from a history department at one of the Four Colleges: Amherst, Hampshire, Mt. Holyoke, or Smith. Exception: One such course may be taken during a Study Abroad semester.

No History course taken on a pass/fail basis or in which a grade below C- has been earned may count toward the minor.

"History" courses taken outside the History Department [e.g., Econ. 306, 361, 362; Journalism 320; Phil. 320, 321; Sport Mgt. 202] do not count under Rule 2 above.


Departmental Honors in History


Departmental Honors (DH) is an Advanced Scholarship track of Commonwealth Honors College (CHC). Students may complete DH as part of the full CHC curriculum, which includes Honors General Studies, or they may complete DH alone. All DH students are members of CHC.

Requirements for Departmental Honors in History:
History honors course, any level
History honors course, 300 or above
History 499Y, Honors Research
History 499T, Honors Thesis, or 499P, Honors Project

Successful completion of the DH requirements, with grades of B or higher, and the submission of a properly formatted Honors Thesis or Project manuscript will result in the award of "Departmental Honors" on the student's academic transcript.

Why do the Departmental Honors Track?

For more information about History Departmental Honors, contact Jennifer Fronc, Honors Program Director, or visit the Departmental Honors page. The Commonwealth College Web site also has useful information. Please see the Course guide for descriptions. If you would like to arrange an Honors Colloquium or Honors Independent Study in conjunction with another course, speak with the professor who is teaching that course.